Global award for possible Lions starlet

One of the contenders for the Lions' No10 shirt in either 2013 or 2017 has been named the globe's top young player. [more]

Global award for possible Lions starlet

One of the contenders for the Lions’ No10 shirt in either 2013 or 2017 has been named the globe’s top young player.

Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford won the IRB Young Player of the Year Award at a star-studded ceremony in Auckland on Monday.

Ford, who has been a regular in the Leicester squad so far this term, was rewarded for his excellent showing as England reached the final of the Junior World Championships during the summer.

The 18-year-old produced a series of outstanding displays in Italy to cement his growing reputation as one of the most exciting prospects Britain and Ireland have produced in the professional era.

"We're delighted for Fordy," Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury after his young charge was chosen ahead of New Zealand duo Sam Cane and Luke Whitelock.

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"It is a big achievement and a reflection of the hard work that he puts in to his game.

"He did really well at the Junior World Championships in the summer and, after coming through the Tigers Academy, has made the step up to the first team and really fronted up.

"For a young man, he has a good skill-set, understands the game well and works really hard on his game.

"He is still 18, his game is developing all of the time and he will continue to improve."

Ford, who is the son of England defence coach Mike, was the youngest player at the Junior World Championships but that didn’t stop him becoming the first Englishman to win the award.

And while Ford will still only be 20 years old when the Lions head to Australia in two seasons’ time, a place in the party to tour New Zealand in 2017 looks like a certainty if his progression continues at a similar rate.

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